20 May 2012
Amidst PH banana split with China, long-term economic plans urged
Amidst stricter regulations currently imposed by China on Philippine banana products, militant youth group Anakbayan said the woes facing those in the banana industry is a mere tip of the iceberg among the consequences wrought by a highly export-oriented and import-dependent economy.
According to the Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association, banana exports are down by USD 4 Million (PHP 171,987,000) since March 5 when China imposed stricter regulations on the shipment of Philippine bananas.
An estimated 1,500 container vans full of bananas are now being held for inspection in Chinese ports. The country’s banana export industry is the third biggest in the world and the only Asian country among the world’s top five.
President Benigno Aquino told banana exporters during the People’s Organizations Congress last May 14 to diversify their markets.
But for Anakbayan, “The proposal of President Aquino is a band-aid solution that fails to address the root cause of the problem.”
“The real culprit in this economic woe is the Aquino government who remains deaf to the people’s demands to distribute lands to farmers so as to empower the majority of the country’s rural-based workforce, and begin the nationalization of industries such as power and water, which could be a rich resource for the Filipino people and national progress,” Cherry Orendain, Anakbayan Regional Spokesperson, said.
According to the Department of Agriculture, almost 400,000 hectare of the country’s land area is planted with bananas for export.
“While the country is considered as primarily agricultural, the Philippines continues to import millions of tons of rice annually. This translates to billions of pesos spent by the government while we have vast and fertile lands for rice, corn and other food products to feed the population. However, the Aquino government continues the bankrupt economic policy of rice importation and pump priming of destructive and plunderous industries like mining,” Orendain said.
Orendain added, “Conforming to the demand of imperialist countries, rather than on providing the peoples’ needs first, thousands of hectares of agricultural lands are converted to cash crops like bananas.”
Anakbayan said, despite artificial oil price rollbacks, the Philippine economy will eventually collapse should long-term and radical changes that move for national industrialization in economic policies are not enforced.
“The Aquino government has no reason to delay the passage of the Genuine Agaraian Reform Bill which is vital to attaining genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization,” Orendain concluded.
Regional Spokesperson, Anakbayan